• Record Label: Geffen
  • Release Date: Sep 24, 2002
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. 100
    Many of these harrowing tunes, like "Lonesome Tears" and "Guess I'm Doing Fine" have the lonely blues feel of Beck's similar-sounding Mutations, and they definitely get better with repeated play.
  2. A perfect treasure of soft, spangled woe sung with a heavy open heart.... It's the best album Beck has ever made.
  3. 90
    Sea Change aches too thoroughly to be mere career shift. It's the kind of album that at times seems too sad for the singer's own good. [Album of the Month, Oct 2002, p.90]
  4. Beck has rarely performed with such maturity and confidence, breathing a rich, often haunting baritone into songs that seem to follow a plotline thread of despair after the end of a relationship.
  5. 90
    Certainly his most personal record, arguably his best.
  6. What's startling about Sea Change is how it brings everything that's run beneath the surface of Beck's music to the forefront, as he's unafraid to not just reveal emotions, but to elliptically examine them in this wonderfully melancholy song cycle.
  7. 90
    A supremely dainty-assed achievement that jerks real tears. [Oct 2002, p.111]
  8. Sea Change not only signals a pinnacle in his career but may just be remembered, in an environment fueled by accelerating cycles of disposable culture, as one of this young decade's best records.
  9. For the first time in his career he has made an album that is clearly not a product of “Beck”, the single-syllabled entertainer, but rather that of “Beck Hansen”, the person.
  10. Sea Change joins Weezer's Maladroit and the Red Hot Chili Peppers' By the Way on the list of beautiful-but-sad 2002 L.A. LPs.
  11. With repeated listenings, the sluggish ditties transform into a beautiful, mournful hymn of love won and lost.
  12. It improves on Mutations with sparkling variation and a depth of emotion Beck seldom seems to achieve.
  13. 80
    A great record to play at 3 A.M. [#10, p.112]
  14. An emotive, often sorrowful work that features his most personal lyrics to date.
  15. Beck swaddles the hurt in a lush assortment of elements that would sound like Babel under anyone else's direction.
  16. Its startling brand of dreamlike space-folk, while reminiscent of earlier efforts like Stereopathic Soul Manure, is a wholly unique venture.
  17. Once you've let it grow on you, Sea Change is largely so lovely that you'll forgive him. [Oct 2002, p.98]
  18. This is beautiful music set in minor keys.
  19. Sea Change is different (and, in a way, less interesting) than everything Beck has previously done, but he has a rare gift that he shares with precious few artists, Prince and Bob Dylan amongst them: no matter what he does, Beck will always be interesting.
  20. Sea Change, while still a very good disc, is a disappointment in that it marks the first time Beck has ever retraced his steps.
  21. Here, as on Mutations, he confuses lyrical simplicity and standard-tuning, key-of-C songwriting with the unpretentious directness of his idols.
  22. An overproduced, sapped-down album that sounds really nice but fails to stick.
  23. The risky juxtapositions that mark his best work are critically missing. [#224, p.51]
  24. The most disappointing aspect of this record is that Beck has fallen into the trap of confusing earnestly repeated clichés for personal lyrics.
  25. 40
    This is pretty gloomy going, not rendered much easier by the lugubrious baritone in which Beck delivers his emotional autopsies, or the vague, amorphous melodies. [Nov 2002, p.116]
  26. Beck desperately aims for Johnny Cash's funereal blues, but the unremitting bleakness of Sea Change more closely resembles alternative rock's limpid whine.
User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 151 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 73 out of 78
  2. Negative: 2 out of 78
  1. j30
    Aug 11, 2011
    10
    This is Beck's best work since Odelay. The lyrics and the whole atmosphere of the album is kind of a "Debbie Downer", but in a good way. ThisThis is Beck's best work since Odelay. The lyrics and the whole atmosphere of the album is kind of a "Debbie Downer", but in a good way. This is the kind of album you listen to on a rainy day or when your heart get's ripped out. This album is on par with Elliot Smith's Either/Or and Nick Drake's Pink Moon Full Review »
  2. Mar 13, 2012
    9
    It took me the longest time to fully appreciate this album. This is Beck's most mature album to date. "The Golden Age" is a perfect openingIt took me the longest time to fully appreciate this album. This is Beck's most mature album to date. "The Golden Age" is a perfect opening track. All In All, might not be Beck's best work to date, but it's certainly his most mature and one if his best. A- Full Review »
  3. WesF.
    Jun 15, 2007
    10
    Was not a huge fan of Beck until I heard this record on a long trip with my brother. Sea Change is simply one of my favorite albums of all Was not a huge fan of Beck until I heard this record on a long trip with my brother. Sea Change is simply one of my favorite albums of all time, and I still listen to it 5 years later. Full Review »